Around 1800, Jose Vincente Feliz received a grant of land from Spain for nearly 7000 acres of land, Rancho Los Feliz, which measured from the Los Angeles River on the East and what is now Gower Street on the West, and from the Los Angeles pueblo limits on the south to the top of the hills on the north. The rancho transferred hands several times before Griffith J. Griffith purchased a large portion of it in 1882. In 1896, Griffith gave 3,015 acres of the hilly wilderness land to the City of Los Angeles as long as they kept it open to the public. In 1898, the city accepted the offer and Griffith Park was born.
Colonel Griffith J. Griffith willed Griffith Park to the city along with a trust fund that called for building a Greek Theater, an observatory, and a hall of science, to be built on Mt. Hollywood. The city of Los Angeles was forced to break his will in order to locate the observatory at a lower elevation than Griffith had planned. In his instructions for the construction of the observatory and the hall of science, he called for the use of a streetcar and funicular railway to reach it. Of course, these instructions were written before the automobile became the standard form of transportation in Southern California.
Work began on the observatory in 1933 and was completed in 1935.
DIRECTIONS: From downtown Los Angeles, take the 101 Freeway north. Exit at Vermont Avenue and turn right (north). Head up into Griffith Park until you reach the Observatory.
"The Phantom Empire" (Mascot 1935) Directed by: Otto Brower and B. Reeves Eason. Cast: Gene Autry, Frankie Darro, Betsy King Ross, Dorothy Christy, Wheeler Oakman, Charles K. French, Warner Richmond, Frank Glendon, Smiley Burnette.
"The Purple Monster Strikes" (Republic 1945) Directed by: Spencer Bennet & Fred Brannon. Cast: Dennis Moore, Linda Stirling, Roy Barcroft, James Craven, Bud Geary, Mary Moore, John Davidson, Joe Whitehead, Emmett Vogan, George Carleton, Kenne Duncan, Rosemonde James, Monte Hale, Wheaton Chambers, Frederick Howard, Anthony Warde, Ken Terrell.
"Dark City" (Paramount 1950) Directed by: William Dieterle. Cast: Charlton Heston, Lizabeth Scott, Viveca Lindfors, Dean Jagger, Don DeFore, jack Webb, Ed Begley, Harry Morgan, Walter Sande, mark Keuning, Mike Mazurki.
"Crash of the Moons" (Roland Reed Productions 1954) Directed by: Hollingsworth Morse. Cast: Richard Crane, Scotty Beckett, Sally Mansfield, Maurice Cass, Robert Lyden, Charles Meredith, Patsy Parsons, Harry Lauter, Nan Leslie, John Banner, Rand Brooks, Lane Bradford, Maria Palmer.
"Rebel Without a Cause" (Warner Bros 1955) Directed by: Nicholas Ray. Cast: James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo, Jim Backus, Ann Doran, Corey Allen, William Hopper, Rochelle Hudson, Dennis Hopper, Edward Platt.
"War of the Colossal Beast" (American International Pictures 1958) Directed by: Bert I. Gordon. Cast: Sally Fraser, Roger Pace, Duncan Parkin, Russ Bender, Rico Alaniz, George Becwar, Robert Hernandez, Charles Stewart, June Jocelyn.
"The Terminator" (Orion 1984) Directed by: James Cameron. Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Michael Biehn, Linda Hamilton, Paul Winfield, Lance henriksen, Rick Rossovich, Bess Motta, Earl Boen, Dick Miller.
"The Rocketeer" (Touchstone Pictures 1991) Directed by: Joe Johnston. Cast: Bill Campbell, Jennifer Connelly, Alan Arkin, Timothy Dalton, Paul Sorvino, Terry O'Quinn, Ed Lauter, James Handy, Tiny Ron.